One of the central demands of leadership is decision-making. Anyone who leads an organization understands that the environment for decison-making is becoming more complex, that change is accelerating and in ways unforeseen a decade ago, and that the impact of globalism and the war on terrorism is changing even how local small businesses make decisions
I've been looking at the various link streams that connect to Col. John Boyd's OODA military strategy system.
Here are various military strategy sites that expand or illustrate how the services are treating strategy and decision-making on the battlefied.
...Boyd and Military Strategy ...
War, Chaos, and Business ...
Net-centric warfare ....
"Net-Centric Warfare Is Changing the Battlefield Environment" ...
The level of sophistication that has developed here, can only happen effectively in an organizational structure where there are clearly defined roles and responsibilities and a high level of organizational discipline. Where this is lacking, this approach is much more difficult.
The academic discipline of decison analysis has emerged to assist organizations in dealing with the growing complexity of running an organization. A visit to the Decision Analysis Society site can give you an indication of the issues that academics are addressing.
In Dietrich Dorner's fascinating book, The Logic of Failure, the inadequacy of traditional decision-making approaches is illustrated.
David Woods at the Center of Ergonomics at Ohio State University is doing interesting research on the relation between people, technology, and work. Watch his Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 1999 president address and listen to him speak of the challenges his field faces as technology expands the range of what people can do, but not necessarily in a manner that makes it easier. The role of technology in decision-making is making it more difficult for those leaders who have not learned how to use it effectively to keep up with those who do.
So, what do all these links and streams of ideas mean for organizational leaders?
1. It means we can't make decision based on convenience or my comfort. We have to learn to use systems like Boyd's OODA's to help us manage the information we need to make effective decisions.
2. It means that the tools for leaders are expanding, but not necessarily in a manner that makes it simpler or easier to lead. Where do leaders learn to use these new tools?
3. It means that whatever we thought about leadership is changing, and changing in ways that we cannot imagine.
4. It means, and I think this is very important, that we can no longer as leaders of organizations, think by ourselves. The need to communicate and collaborate with other leaders and organizations is becoming more imperative with the changes happening in knowledge, organizations, and society, on both a local and a global scale.
5. It means that we have to develop a mental and emotional hardiness to face these challenges. And we cannot do it alone. Whether you develop new communication/decision-making skills internally, or you develop an external collaborative group to support decision-making in your individual organizations, you have to do something. Leaders who become paralyzed by the complexity and rapidity of making serious, unalterable, quick decisions will begin to lose ground to their competitors.
We can either throw up our hands and give up in a state of operational paralysis, or, we can decide that each day, I will learn what is required to be a leader in the 21st century.
Its do or die time for most of us.